UPDATED: Nov 30, 2018
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Dairyland was founded in 1953 in Madison, Wisconsin as a non-standard auto insurance company offering coverage to those who had difficulty obtaining it elsewhere. In 1966 another homegrown Wisconsin insurer, Sentry Insurance, which remains the parent company of Dairyland to this day, acquired Dairyland. At this time, Dairyland expanded into motorcycle insurance as well.
Dairyland, which was offering coverage in 27 states at the time of the merger, continued expansion, and in 2005 reached 43 states through a merger with Viking Insurance.
Dairyland headquarters is located in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, and auto and motorcycle products are offered through local independent agents.
As a non-standard insurer, Dairyland is an option for drivers who have a problematic driving record, poor credit, lack of experience, or other issues that prevent them from obtaining insurance on the standard market. They write both auto and motorcycle coverage.
Dairyland writes coverage for those who require an SR-22, drivers with DUIs on their record, non-owner policies, and more. Not surprisingly for a non-standard insurer, the website pushes liability coverage-only policies, but also offers full coverage options including comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Towing and labor, rental reimbursement, and even special equipment coverage are also options.
Dairyland offers a range of discounts, some of which are aimed specifically at the non-standard market. Discounts for obtaining a quote ahead of the start date and having previous insurance are incentives for drivers who may have had insurance problems in the past. They also offer common discounts such as multi-car and anti-theft devices.
Dairyland offers a range of payment options for their policies, including a pay-as-you-go option that features a low down payment and minimal monthly payments.
It is not unusual for a non-standard insurer like Dairyland to not offer some of the common options seen at standard insurers, such as accident forgiveness or deductible reduction.
DairylandCycle offers coverage for a wide variety of motorcycle types including touring, sport, and cruisers. They also cover mopeds and scooters. Unlike some other companies, they do not have strict limits on the brand or type of motorcycle they cover.
In addition to the basic coverage such as liability, comprehensive, and collision, Dairyland has multiple added value coverage options for motorcycles. These include coverage for added costs during an accident away from home, overseas temporary coverage, and rider training.
Discounts for motorcycle insurance include memberships discounts for rider clubs and groups, multi-policy discounts, and loyalty discounts.
While Dairyland does have an online quoting system, at the time of this review it was not functional. The company touts cheap, affordable car insurance, but as a non-standard insurer, they are unlikely to compete with standard insurance companies. Their rates may be competitive with other non-standard auto and motorcycle companies, but due to the lack of functionality of the quoting system, we were unable to verify this.
Dairyland does not have an option for online claims reporting, but there is a 24/7 toll-free line available for reporting claims.
Unlike many insurers, Dairyland does not push a preferred repair network but instead offers to work with the chosen repair shop of the customer. This is available from every insurer, but a preferred network repair shop is usually presented as offering added benefits.
Dairyland provides a good rundown of their claims service on the website and promises fast, fair claims service. Although there is not much in the way of detail, there are a lot of promises that the process will be easy and smooth.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
Dairyland is a bit difficult to get a clear picture on when it comes to Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings, as there are multiple pages for each local branch in various states. There is not a BBB page for the head office in Wisconsin, however, there is one for the parent company, Sentry. Sentry is currently not rated by the BBB, and the page states this is because the company is in the process of responding to previously closed complaints. There are 111 complaints on file in the past three years, and 32 were closed in the past 12 months.
Pissed Consumer has 97 reviews of Dairyland, with the vast majority being negative. There are repeated complaints of difficulty with canceling policies, as well as failure to pay claims.
Consumer Affairs has similar complaints on file about this company, with a total of 71 reviews adding up to a one-star overall rating.
While the complaints are not unusual in volume for a nationwide company, there are repeated complaints about the same issues, which always raises some concern. Non-standard insurers, in general, tend to have more complaints, particularly from people involved in accidents with the company’s insured drivers. That may be due to the higher-risk nature of the drivers they insure.
The Bottom Line
If you require non-standard insurance, choices are somewhat more limited, therefore Dairyland may land on your list of options. They do appear to have good coverage choices and an open policy on who and what type of vehicle they insure. There are certainly some concerns in the complaints about this company, however, regarding their claims handling and billing practices. Checking reviews for your local Dairyland office may be helpful to the final decision, as local agents and adjusters may vary in their service approach.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.